Barnes & Noble is one of the oldest bookstores in America; the store that would later become the first Barnes & Noble was opened in 1886. Barnes & Noble rose to success during the golden age of bookstores - which, yes, was also the age before ereaders existed. To its credit, in addition to its robust online bookstore, Barnes & Noble is one of the only major US retail booksellers with brick-and-mortar locations still standing (at about one-third the size of Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million is a very distant second).

The Good

  • Affordable prices
  • Great website
  • Nook devices

Of the ten New York Times bestselling books we used to compare the selections of online bookstores, Barnes & Noble carried each title in print and ebook versions, and all but one in audio. Barnes & Noble also ranked right behind Amazon for lowest prices, making it our second-place contender in this category. In addition to new and collectible print books, Barnes & Noble also offers magazines, music, movies, tv shows and an affiliated used-book marketplace on its site, as well as large libraries of ebooks and audio books. It also offers students the option to buy new or used textbooks and sell back old textbooks.

Barnes & Noble's site is well-organized and easy-to-use. There are features for basic and advanced searches, browsing by category and saving a wishlist. Barnes & Noble also features a distinct benefit of having 658 brick-and-mortar stores nationwide: you can locate and reserve a book at a store near you, then simply go pick it up instead of waiting for it to arrive in the mail.

For the reader who likes to research before buying, Barnes & Noble offers ample editorial and user reviews of its titles, as well as a section of tabs called More About This Book. This section includes information such as the suggested reader's age, related categories to browse, a profile of the author, interviews with the author, excerpts of the book and more. The information Barnes & Noble includes about each title and author is much more thorough than what we found on any other online bookstore we reviewed.

For the avid ebook reader, Barnes & Noble manufactures a line of NOOK devices and over one million ebook titles, including a massive section of under-$5 titles as well as Book Bundles, which are series of books that can be purchased as packages in order to save money.

Barnes & Noble also offers an inexpensive membership program with lots of perks. For a $25 annual fee, Barnes & Noble Members receive 40% off hardcover bestsellers, 10% off other items, free express shipping with no minimum purchase required and member-exclusive coupons. In terms of the cost-to-benefit ratio, this is the best membership package we saw during our review process.

Barnes & Noble supports charitable causes by sponsoring and donating to a variety of literary, arts and educational organizations at the local and national levels. Barnes & Noble's 2013 Holiday Book Drive succeeded in collecting over 1.5 million books that were distributed to children in need through local charities across America. Its Summer Reading Program "fosters literacy and puts more than one million books in the hands of children each year." Barnes & Noble also participates in local book fairs, supplies local libraries with books and invites children to visit its store locations for free storytimes and activities.

The Bad

  • Convert files
  • Issues with advanced search

As with the Kindle, the NOOK is primarily intended to support NOOK books. If you'd like to read a file format other than a PDB, PRC or ePub on your NOOK, you'll need to either convert the file or download another app to read it on. This can be a hassle for readers who have acquired an extensive ebook collection from other sources.

While Barnes & Noble's basic search function worked pretty well, sometimes it's necessary to conduct a more advanced search - but you'll have a hard time finding where to click to do so. We found the Advanced Search option at the very bottom of the site under the internal footer links. This is a minor gripe but it could cause some serious frustration if you're in a hurry and find yourself having to ironically search for the Advanced Search.

The Bottom Line

Barnes & Noble provides a large selection of reading materials and decision-making tools to the reader, has a rich history in the bookselling industry and has managed to stay afloat despite Amazon's ability to take a sizable bite out of the bookselling marketplace.

In addition, Barnes & Noble may have an advantage in being the only bookstore powerhouse that is also able to provide personal, face-to-face interactions and the convenience of being able to run over to the local shop; it can engage both online and offline consumers, which is something Amazon can't do. Ebook sales still make up only 30% of the book-buying market, and the print book could make a comeback, indeed: Barnes & Nobles' 2013 profits were its highest in four years. So feel free to head over to Barnes & Noble, whether online or just up the street.

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User Reviews

Star Rating

4.6
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35 Reviews

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Greybl

August 10th, 2020 ,

Super fast support and great discount. Always there to help me find the right book!

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Mirna Hanna

March 17th, 2020 Tallahassee, FL DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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Great sales on a variety of books! I love shopping online and getting the books for decent prices

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Nichola Churchwell

March 9th, 2020 Tallahassee, FL DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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Have good value for books, definitely beats Amazon with prices, I brought a book from them. It was reasonably priced because it included shipping.

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Anita pea

March 7th, 2020 Dallas, TX DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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Barnes & noble was a great choice to find my books. The websites were easy and the prices were perfect. I found all the mangas I ever wanted

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Natalia Correa MDTribe

March 4th, 2020 Tallahassee, FL DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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Barnes and Nobles never fails me. They have every kind of book possible. They also have amazing customer service.

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Annie Chow

March 4th, 2020 Tallahassee, FL DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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Love this bookstore. Super dependable but their variety could use updating, in reference to having newer books that aren't mainstream.

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Emily

March 3rd, 2020 Crawfordville, FL DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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I love going to Barnes and Noble just to walk around, I have done it for years and it is easily one of the most relaxing things to do for me. I calmly peruse the sections and figure out what books to add to my reading list. The only downside is that I rarely ever buy a book because they are so expensive.

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JD Dunklee

February 26th, 2020 Hattiesburg, MS DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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I love using Barnes & noble online. It’s always a good way to get my textbooks for college at a better price!

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Kaitlyn Rios

February 18th, 2020 Ogden, UT DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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Barnes & Noble is a fantastic book store through and through. They have a wide variety. With an easy to use website. They are the best!

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Hunter Nobles

February 11th, 2020 Olivehurst, CA DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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I love the selection provided by Barnes & Noble. I get excited every time I get a gift card! I just can’t wait to get new books!

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Eddie Rios

February 6th, 2020 Ogden, UT DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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Barnes & Noble always offers an elevated book buying experience online. I prefer their selection and at good prices. Never once have I been disappointed in the quality or timeliness of the books purchased. I hope Barnes & Noble sticks around for a long time to come as it has become a favorite online seller!

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Collin bowman

January 17th, 2020 Ellisville, MS DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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The books they have are very interesting and the coffee shop is brilliant because the are always listening

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Nishita

November 30th, 2018 McLean, VA DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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Bought tons and tons of educational, and fun interactive books for my niece in India. Found exactly what I was looking for, spent a good $100 but I know these books will last for generations... that's how good the content and the quality is. Very Happy with my purchase.

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Angie L Hanzel

November 6th, 2018 Saratoga Springs, UT DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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When I'm looking for a particular book I usually go to Barnes and Noble. They rarely have sales though so you are usually paying full price for the product. I do like their online feature where you can search for books at a store near you and they will usually have it on hold for you within an hour. It is a relaxing store to browse and they usually have any book you want or can order it in for you.

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Shari Evers

September 16th, 2018 Lehi, UT DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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I love that bookstores are still around. There’s just something special about holding a book! I shop Barnes and Noble all the time. The store is huge and the employees are always willing to help me find my way around!

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Thomas Hullinger

August 28th, 2018 Pleasant Grove, UT DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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Great selection and a good place to go to find any book that you need.

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A Craw

June 8th, 2018 Draper, UT DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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I really the nook I just purchased from Barnes and Noble. So helpful to read books I love at the pool! Employees were very helpful.

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H Moore

June 6th, 2018 Lehi, UT

Barnes & Noble has plenty of books on sale, and it seems that every time someone gives me a gift card, it's for this store. The website is user friendly, and the books arrive in excellent condition.

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K Robison

April 29th, 2018 Layton, UT DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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Awesome book store. Buy a lot of my books here. I enjoy the store environment too

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Julia Scoville

April 25th, 2018 Pleasant Grove, UT DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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Good selection of books. High quality. Order came on time.

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Jeff Martin

April 19th, 2018 Layton, UT DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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Buy a lot of my books at Barnes & Noble. They make your online and in-store experience good. Would recommend

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Anne Marie Milne

April 15th, 2018 Layton, UT DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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I used to use Barnes & Noble but have found it is too expensive. I find better deals elsewhere so unfortunately I don't think their store is the best way to go if you want to find the best prices. If prices don't matter, they are great. Brand new everything. It just depends on your price range.

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Brette

April 9th, 2018 Draper, UT DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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Great place with a great atmosphere! I always have help finding what I’m looking for!

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Landon Robison

April 7th, 2018 Layton, UT DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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I love browsing Barnes & Noble, but I never buy books from there because they are way too expensive. It is a lot better to go through another company because other companies have a lot better deals. However, around Christmas time I have noticed they have pretty good sales. Overall, I wouldn't recommend if you want to find the cheapest option.

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Spencer Goodworth

April 7th, 2018 Pleasant Grove, UT DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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My favorite place to go book shopping. Could spend hours in there.

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Natasha

December 18th, 2017 Salt Lake City, UT DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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I absolutely love books! This is one of my favorite places to get them. I could spend hours searching for new great reads. They have great customer service and always have the newest books.

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Suzanna Wootton

December 18th, 2017 Springville, UT DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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I love the selection of books at barnes and noble. Its such a great bookstore!

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Patrick

December 14th, 2017 Orem, UT DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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My grandma and I love Barnes and Noble. It is great place to buy books. There is nothing spectacular or bad about it but the store has everything you need. It is always clean in there and you can also get some coffee inside the store. I really like that.

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Derrick Martinez

December 13th, 2017 South Jordan, UT DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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I love Barnes and Noble. If you need a book. They got it. Need a snack. They got it. Service is great . They need to do some major advertisement tho to get themselves out there.

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Kaylee

December 13th, 2017 West Jordan, UT DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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Books might seem a little pricey but if you have a membership card it helps to lower the price. The books are high quality and they have a large range of DVDs and CDs.

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Sherry Wootton

December 12th, 2017 Ogden, UT DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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Great place to get a good book and place to sit and enjoy reading.

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Lindsey

December 10th, 2017 American Fork, UT DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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I really enjoy Barnes & Noble, but it is definitely steep priced compared to Amazon and other smaller bookstores. When you buy from Barnes & Noble, you know you're getting quality.

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Pete

October 30th, 2017 Centerville, UT DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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Barnes & Noble is one of my favorite places to get books. I also really enjoy using Nook. It makes it really easy for me to get the books i want and to always have them ready to read on my phone. I've been able to read a lot of books because of it and I really enjoy it.

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Jonny Hancock

May 31st, 2017 Draper, UT

Barnes & Noble has a great selection of books and I love the fact that they still have brick-and-mortar stores. Sometimes it's fun to go to an actual store and browse for an actual book that you can hold in your hands.

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Kenneth Okerlund

May 27th, 2017

Very consistent with their books and return policies, but they are usually more expensive than other bookstores.

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